Pet Health & Safety

The Misunderstood Can

4 Comments 22 May 2010

The Misunderstood Can

Walk into any pet store or natural food or grocery store and take a look at the selection of canned dog and cat foods. Hundreds, if not thousands, of cans sit on the shelves. (Have you ever thought about who the heck turns each and every one of those cans to line up perfectly for you?) “How many cans do people really feed to their dogs and cats?”, you ask yourself.

Canned food, especially for dogs, is often considered the stepchild to dry food. Particularly if you remember canned dog food from years gone by– it looked nasty and smelled worse. But, today’s canned dog and cat foods are remarkable– real pieces of veggies, fruits, meats in scrumptious gravy or even loaf-style formulas packed with tasty and even organic nutrition.

I think it’s time to celebrate the can, for its many uses and the many problems it solves. Here’s my list… do let me know if you’ve got more to share!

Variety: Many pet parents want their dogs and cats to enjoy the same variety at mealtime that they do (without the glass of wine or pint of beer). From strictly a nutritional standpoint, it’s not necessary to change diets. In fact, it can cause digestive upset and can even promote a more finicky dog or cat. However, adding a dollop of canned food can provide that special topping and mealtime variety to make you and your dog and cat happy.

Finicky dogs and cats: Dogs and cats are attracted by smell and, usually, the smellier, the better (as you may have noticed!). Add a bit of canned food to the bowl of kibble, stir and see if that works for your picky eater. If it doesn’t, try slightly warming the mixture and stirring again to release the full aroma. This is particularly effective with canned foods like Natural Ultramix that are awash in yummy gravy.

Organic addition to non-organic dry food: Adding a spoonful or two of certified organic canned food to the bowl of kibble brings the goodness and quality of organic ingredients to your dog or cat. Even a little bit helps!

Post-Surgery or Recuperation from Illness: Your dog or cat isn’t eating well (or at all) after surgery or due to an illness. Canned food is often appealing (because of the aroma) and has the added advantage of providing more calories than its dry equivalent. Try slightly warming the food to further entice your dog or cat.

Additional water intake (especially for cats): It’s important for cats (and dogs) to always have access to fresh water but that doesn’t mean they drink enough of it, right? To help maintain a healthy urinary tract and help prevent the formation of crystals, water intake is very important, particularly for cats (they have a higher propensity for crystal formation relative to dogs). Feeding canned food helps your cat with additional water intake.

Pill popping: Getting your dog or cat to take pills can be an interesting exercise in frustration. Try hiding the pill in a spoonful of canned food and watch it disappear!

How’s that for making good use of all of those wonderful cans?!! Any more ideas and uses? Do let me know!


- who has written 15 posts on Castor & Pollux Pet Works Blog.

Shelley Gunton is co-founder and “Top Dog” of Castor & Pollux Pet Works. Shelley and husband Brian’s passion for bringing the best possible products to dogs and cats started with their own dog, Joey, back in 1985 when they couldn’t find any quality food for him after being transferred to Hong Kong. So began their journey into the world of pet food that eventually lead to the launching of their own line of natural and organic dog and cat products in 1999 – Castor & Pollux Pet Works.

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4 Comments so far

  1. DeeDee says:

    Since reading of the BPA (a proven carcinogenic chemical used to line nearly all canned food and which leaches into food contents of cans, I am no longer using canned food for myself, my family that includes our felines and canines. I am returning the stash of all cans in our home to their original place of purchase. As I am relatively certain BPA is used in the lining of Castor and Pollux cans, I would appreciate learning whether you plan to discontinue using this chemical known to cause cancer in human and non human animals alike.

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Dee Dee,

    Thanks for reading our blog and taking the time to comment! All of our cat food cans and our small dog food cans (5.5oz) are BPA-free. Our large dog food cans do contain some BPA in the liner. Because of how canned food interacts with the metal used to form the cans, all cans need to have some type of liner to avoid contamination that can lead to illness. We’ve been researching alternatives for the large cans, but to date have found there are no viable options for most pet foods (and human foods).

    I understand that the thought that there is BPA in the large cans may worry you. I do think it’s important to be aware, though, that research has shown that the average adult consumer would have to ingest more than 500 lbs of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed concerning levels of BPA identified by the EPA and FDA. There has been no research conducted on dogs or cats, but based on the levels of consumption studied in humans, a can a day would represent a very, very small intake for your cat or dog. In fact, many of us feed our own pets canned food (both large and small cans) and have seen our pets live long and healthy lives.

  3. Marcus says:

    Count me along with Debbie. Shame on you guys for claiming your food is so healthy when it’s full of that bpa toxin.

    -former customer.

  4. Mary says:

    Marcus, please let us know of you find a large pet food can that is BPA free. We are certainly on the hunt and would love to be BPA free across the board!

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